Please give me a break. A number of pundits are now saying that Sarah Palin was confused by Charlie Gibson's question asking her to define the "Bush Doctrine" because actually there have been four different Bush doctrines over the years (the link given is just one of many such efforts to leap to Palin's defense.) If that had been true, her response would have been "Which one of the four Bush doctrines do you mean, Charlie?" rather than what she really said, which was "In what respect, Charlie?" and then a moment later asking if he meant Bush's "worldview."
As Bob Herbert pointed out in his column today, she couldn't answer the question because she didn't understand the question. You know, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig--and you can take an inexperienced, ignorant Republican ideologue and make her a vice-presidential candidate, but she's still an inexperienced, ignorant Republican ideologue. But as the New York Times editorialized today, this is really about McCain and his judgement:
If he seriously thought this first-term governor — with less than two years in office — was qualified to be president, if necessary, at such a dangerous time, it raises profound questions about his judgment. If the choice was, as we suspect, a tactical move, then it was shockingly irresponsible.
I would go further and say that this is also about McCain's patriotism. If you really loved your country as much as he claims to, wouldn't you choose someone unquestionably qualified to be president as your running mate--rather than leave the nation in the hands of an unqualified individual in case you died in office, which the actuarial tables say McCain has an excellent chance of doing? What kind of patriot would resort to political gimmickry to get elected, when so much is at stake?
Fortunately, Palin's lack of experience, and the ongoing ethics investigation in Alaska (which is not going away any time soon), will keep both McCain and Palin on the hot seat for the rest of the campaign--no matter how much they try to lie their way out of it.
Punditry that's more to the point: From James Fallows at the Atlantic, about why it matters whether Palin knows what the Bush Doctrine is or not. And from Glenn Greenwald, a Bush Doctrine primer.
More thoughts: A lot has been made about the relative "inexperience" of both Palin and Obama, the latter being, of course, only a first-term Senator and the former being only a first-term governor. But in Obama's case, it is not just his experience that counts, it is his experiences--the kind of life he has lived and the influences he has been exposed to, which have made him wiser about the world than pretty much any other potential president in my lifetime. If you have not yet read "Dreams From My Father", don't read it; get the audio CD and listen to Obama read it aloud, an experience that will give you greater insight into the man than any of the nonsense we are hearing during this campaign, including what we hear from the Obama campaign itself.
Palin line of the day, from Dick Cavett: "I wince and feel for her over the reports of how she is being tutored, guided and taught in marathon cram sessions of what might be called a crash course in Instant Experience 101. There’s something almost funny in the idea that she is being speedily stuffed, Strasbourg-goose-style, with knowledge she should have had before she was selected."
Nervous Nellies: Historian Andrew Hunt posts a very clear-headed piece about panic in Democratic ranks and how to deal with it--the Obama way.
The Masters of War: According to a front-page article in Sunday's (Sept 14) New York Times, U.S. arms sales are up, way up--"the Department of Defense has agreed so far this fiscal year to sell or transfer more than $32 billion in weapons and other military equipment to foreign governments, compared with $12 billion in 2005." Read the article to get the list of buyers, including a number of new clients such as Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Georgia, India, Iraq, Morocco and Pakistan--places to watch for the world's future wars. And then listen to the Bob Dylan song again.
More lies: CNN reports today (Sept 14) that the McCain campaign is planning to run another dishonest ad, this time about Obama's record on immigration reform. As the CNN story points out, the voting record of both candidates on the most recent immigration reform legislation is identical.